When a nurse was brutally murdered in her apartment, the police were mystified. But then one of her colleagues began to fall into strange trances...
It was a cold winter’s night in February 1977. Chicago firefighters rushing to the scene of a fire in a high-rise apartment weren’t prepared for what they found. It was the unclothed body of a woman engulfed in flames with a kitchen knife sticking out of her chest and a mattress on top of her.
It quickly became a murder investigation. The dead woman was identified as Teresita Basa, 47, who’d been born in the Philippines. She’d moved to Chicago in search of a better life. She’d worked at a hospital as a respiratory therapist, and was said to be very dedicated to her job and her patients.
Detectives on the case could find found no clues and they had no leads. Nothing was missing as far as they knew, and the autopsy indicated that Teresita hadn’t been sexually assaulted. The only thing they did have was a note left by someone with the initials AS, who was supposed to give her some theatre tickets.
When no other evidence or suspects came to light, the case went cold. Until…
Six months later, the police received a strange call from a Dr Chua. He and his wife worked at the same hospital as Teresita, but they didn’t know her well.
Jose Chua had an odd tale to tell. He told the police that his wife Remebios, Remy for short, appeared to be possessed by the spirit of the murdered Teresita. And she’d told her husband some strange things.
Entering a trance-like state and speaking in a different voice to normal, she’d stated, ‘I am Teresita Basa.’ Jose Chua had thought his wife was dreaming when it first began, but this started happening to her regularly for a week and each time a little more information was given.
By now, the Chuas were terrified, but the voice continued, revealing information stating, ‘The man responsible for my murder was a man named Allan Showery, and the proof can be found with his girlfriend.’
The police were a bit apprehensive, but they decided to investigate the information. They found that an orderly called Allan Showery did in fact work at the same hospital as Teresita.
The voice continued to provide the police with more information. ‘After he killed me, he took my jewellery and gave it to his girlfriend.’ The voice gave details of individuals who could identify the jewellery and even their phone numbers!
Soon afterwards, Showery’s girlfriend was questioned. She told the police that Showery had indeed given her some jewellery. The family looked at the pieces and identified them as belonging to Teresita. The police confronted Showery about it.
Stunned, Showery broke down and confessed to the murder. He said, ‘I decided to go to her apartment that night to rob her. When she let me in, and turned her back, I grabbed her and put her in a chokehold and stabbed her. I held her in that position until she stopped moving. When it appeared she was no longer breathing, I dragged her body into the living room where I snatched her clothes off. I then got the mattress from the bedroom, put it on top of her, and set it on fire.’
Despite this, during the trial Showery changed his plea to not guilty on the grounds that the testimony of a ghost was inadmissible evidence.
Both the judge and jury disagreed. The first trial ended in a hung jury, but the second time Showery was sentenced to 14 years in prison. The decision created quite a stir because it was the first case on record in which the chief witness for the prosecution was a ghost.
Showery was released in 1990 after serving less than five years. Is he still haunted by the voice that sent him to prison?
Do you think a ghost should be able to give evidence?